March 12, 2006— In an exclusive interview on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold called on the Senate to publicly admonish President Bush for approving domestic wiretaps on American citizens without first seeking a legally required court order.
“This conduct is right in the strike zone of the concept of high crimes and misdemeanors,” said Feingold, D-Wis., a three-term senator and potential presidential contender.
He said President Bush had, “openly and almost thumbing his nose at the American people,” continued the NSA domestic wiretap program.
President Bush has long asserted that the so-called ‘warrantless wiretaps’ are an essential tool in the war on terror.
But in a copy of the censure resolution obtained by ABC News, Feingold asserts the president, “repeatedly misled the public prior to the public disclosure of the National Security Agency surveillance program by indicating his administration was relying on court orders to wiretap suspected terrorists inside the United States.”
Feingold cites three instances over a year-long period in which Bush outlined the necessity of a court order or a judge’s permission prior to a domestic wiretap of a U.S. citizen.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., also appearing exclusively on “This Week,” defended Bush.
“Russ is just wrong, he is flat wrong, he is dead wrong,” Frist said.
Will be interesting to see how this plays out. I think if the Dems don’t watch it, they’re going to overplay their hand here. They’re riding high after getting the upperhand last week on the national security front (even though it was based on faulty pretenses) but if they keep pushing it on the NSA surveillance issue, I think it’s going to backfire. I hope so.
(Cross-posted at Blogs For Bush)
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- Joe Klein: How to Stay Out of Power (and undermine the war in the process)
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- Investigations begin into the NSA eavesdropping leak
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- Michael Barone on the MSM’s â€˜eavesdropping’ coverage
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- Past presidents and the NSA
- Bill Clinton and the NSA
- WSJ: “Thank you for wiretapping”
- The Prez fires back
- Prez essentially says â€˜let me do my job’